Governor Rick Scott will deliver his third State of the State Address tomorrow at 11:00 am at the Florida State Capitol. Governor Scott’s address will be carried live on the Florida Channel. Below are excerpts from the Governor’s speech:
“This year, we have two priorities to keep our economy growing: first – remove the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, and second – invest in our teachers by providing them a well-deserved pay raise.
“Our Florida Families First budget supports these priorities while maintaining substantial reserves. This is responsible stewardship of taxpayer money. …Washington, DC could learn a few budget lessons from Florida. The contrast between our state and the nation’s capital is remarkable.
“Now is not the time to turn back to the legacy of taxing and borrowing that crippled the economy we inherited two years ago. We must stay the course for economic growth and job creation.”
“When I first stood before you in 2011, I said, ‘The single most important factor in student learning is the quality of teaching.’
“Since that time, we eliminated teacher tenure. We signed performance pay into law, and it will take effect in 2014.
“Florida’s education system is making tremendous progress, due in large part to our great teachers and the work begun by Governor Bush and many in this legislature.
“Our students and teachers were recently ranked sixth for educational quality; and our fourth-graders scored among the highest in the world on a recent reading evaluation.
“Accountability is working.
“The best way we can build on this progress is to reward our hard-working teachers with a $2,500 pay raise.
“Some say they are afraid that giving raises to all teachers may mean that a teacher doing a bad job gets rewarded. But, thanks to our work, we are now in a better position than ever before to reward good teachers and move bad teachers out of the classroom.
“We don’t want a war on teachers; we want a war on failure.
“We came into office saying we wanted to create an environment that would encourage businesses to add 700,000 jobs over 7 years.
“When I took office two years ago, the debate was about whether or not this goal was even possible.
“Now, there is a debate about how to count all the jobs being created, and who should get credit for it. Maybe it is because I am not a politician, but I think this is a great debate to have. It celebrates the fact that our economy is once again creating jobs…And, as Ronald Reagan said, there is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care about who gets the credit.
“Two years ago, we began the hard work to get our state’s economy back on track. Today, we know its working.
“We could have chosen a different course. We could have continued to drive up taxes and borrowed to increase spending. That would have been the easy way out.
“California raised their top income tax rate to 13.3 percent – the highest in the nation. But, it isn’t working in California. People are leaving their state and they have the second highest unemployment rate in the country.
“More taxes and more spending aren’t working in New York either. More than 3.4 million New Yorkers fled for other states from 2000 to 2009. Florida was their number one destination.”